rusthebuss

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Rus is right, the governor is expected to be basically the lobbyist-in-chief for Virginia. That means entertaining potential investors both commercial and governmental. Oftentimes the governor will hint at tax breaks, subsidies, and other state goodies to sweeten the pot, and the legislature usually approves since the more money in Virginia, the better.

At least that's what you'd think. Apparently this administration seems to think that more money (surplus) means we need more money (new taxes). Yeah ...

When it is a big investment, the state gets involved like was the case with those two multi-billion 5,000-employee chip plants a decade ago. But when you're talking about 100 people, it's really up to the cities or counties. If they need to up the incentive and the numbers make sense, then the state will step in so that another state doesn't snag the prize.

How quickly we forget. Gilmore pushed his one item platform during the booming late 90's. Money was flowing in and tax cuts were the rage. After the dot-com bust, tax revenues evaporated. Funding for vital services like schools and roads had to be cut. Because of prudent planning by the former governor and state senate, Virginia has a surplus again. Much of the surplus is going to rebuild the rainy day fund thereby maintaining Virginia's stellar credit rating. The rest is going to schools and to Chesapeake Bay clean-up (for which Virginia is still not paying its negotiated share).

However, despite this phantom surplus, Virginia is still grossly underfunding schools and transportation. Funding was cut during the late 80's/early 90's recession and this funding was never restored. Toss in soaring security/emergency services and health-care costs, you have a recipe for future financial shortfalls. Virginia is one of, if not the best run state in the country. It isn't California where money is wasted on social programs. Virginia is a state where tax money goes to make obligations to its citizens.

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Virginia is a state where tax money goes to make obligations to its citizens.

Well apparently it isn't such a shining steward if

-surplus money is being earmarked for unnecessary pork projects around the state.

-state spending since 1996 has increased 80% (from 16 billion to now almost 30 billion) ... and to where?

-spending for education has risen approx 57% between 1996 and today, with more and more money being demanded. is this spending hike being accounted for properly? are virginia taxpayers getting their money's worth?

-Transportation funding, you'd be surprised to learn, has grown by nearly 60% since 1996 levels. And this money? undoubtedly lavished on pet projects around the state without investment in the critical corridors like Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia

How quickly we DO forget. It was through the policies of Gov Allen that was responsible for the boomtime in the late nineties. Gilmore's administration, admittedly, was horrendous, but it does not account for the fact that there has been no comprehensive audit of state spending that justifies either Warner's tax increase and certainly not Kaine's (which likely won't survive).

I don't know why you call it a phantom surplus because the money is there. Attention all shoppers, but Virginia's entire revenue stream is contingent on the health of the economy, not simply surpluses.

We need to review spending top to bottom, and ESPECIALLY in areas like Transportation and Education where we have seen exorbitant increases without commensurate results.

Why is it that the state budget - overweight with pork projects and misappropriation - should stuff itself even further at the expense of the family budget? what about virginians?

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I call it phantom because most of the money is going to rebuild the rainy day fund as dictated by law. Part of the leftover goes to meet Virginia's obligation to the Chesepeake Bay clean-up. Virginia's contribution went to almost nothing during the cost-cutting a couple years back. The rest igoes to schools and transportation.

All of America enjoyed the boomtime of the 90's. Although Allen was a pro-business governor, he wasn't the single cause of Virginia's boom. A lot of that is attributed to tech and telecom companies already being HQ'd up in NoVa. HR didn't share in the boom like Virginia's tech centers. HR is booming now because of lavish federal spending.

Where does the spending go, you ask. State spending was cut sharply during the late 80's and early 90's to compensate for big budget shortfalls since the state constitution doesn't allow deficits. So part of the spending growth is due to just getting back to pre-recession spending levels. Virginia has a growing population with a change of about 15% over the past decade. You also have to account with cost-of-living (inflation) adjustments which is 3% a year which comes out to 34% over the past decade. Finally, there are rising costs associated with homeland security and health care. The two factors set in stone (pop growth and inflation) already accounts for 50 percentage points of spending growth. Include the variables of returning to 1980's relative spending levels and rising health care and security costs, and the spending increases can be easily explained.

You focus on the recent sales tax increase, but what about the car tax decrease and the food tax reduction? Also, municipalities have cut property tax rates in response to rising property values. It all evens out.

I agree that VDOT needs more oversight. However, more and more public schools are meeting state standards. Virginia's college system is one of the best in the nation despite lack of state support. Each year, more money flows into the colleges from donors and tuition. It's great that the universities are finding outside sources, but if the state wants public universities it should pay its share.

Edited by hoobo

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First of all, you're assuming that spending levels in the 80s was sustainable/justifiable. With Virginia economy even more centered around federal government and military projects, certain levels of spending could be justified that just cannot today.

Inflation and population growth aside, the budget has increased 30% over the past decade ... not a minor figure. And are you confident that all major localities have cut their properly taxes accordingly like you say? I am not so certain.

And didnt the state schools request more autonomy in return for lesser state funding? And it VA revenues did not decrease under Gilmore. In fact, they flatlined, which means the surplus from the Allen administration carried over and has since been unused. Compound that with the revenue generation during Warner's tenure and you have a significant chunk of change that is not being used effectively. There's no reason to build a rainy-day fund when it's raining!

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No, the cities did not completely reduce the market value effect but they're cutting the hit substantially.

State colleges want autonomy because the state is already underfunding them. The case for autonomy is that if they want to carry out a project or purchase property even if no state funding is involved, they have to clear it with the state assembly. Why should the state dictate school operations if the state doesn't have a vested interest (i.e. properly fund) in the institution. It's like me trying to dictate how IBM runs because I own a couple shares in the company.

Now you've gone and confused me with the raining. Raining is when the state has a deficit while sunny is when it has a surplus. When it's sunny, you put the extra money away so that you don't have to significantly cut services and raise taxes when it gets rainy/cloudy. When times are bad you don't want to make them worse for the people so government puts money aside to keeps things going as smoothly as possible in down times.

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I find it embarrassing that our state politicians take up so much of their time worrying about discriminating against people for things that our truly none of their business.

McDonnell rules Kaine out of order on gay-discrimination ban.

A gubernatorial ban on discrimination against gay applicants for state government jobs is unconstitutional, according to a ruling Friday by Attorney General Bob McDonnell.

Former Gov. Mark Warner and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine exceeded their authority when they signed executive orders adding sexual orientation to the state's nondiscrimination policy, McDonnell wrote in a seven-page legal opinion.

Employment discrimination in state government was first prohibited in Virginia through an executive order in 1973 issued by former Gov. Linwood Holton, Kaine's father-in-law. Warner extended protections against discrimination to gay workers in December, a month before his term ended.

Kaine reiterated that policy by signing an identical order within minutes after he was inaugurated Jan. 14.

What's even more embarrassing is that these people keep getting elected. This state has a knack for plowing full steam ahead to discriminate against anyone for anything. I truly wish this part of Virginia culture would change.

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Amen, vdogg. I cannot conceive how an order prohibiting discrimination could possibly be "unconstitutional". Is that supposed to mean that there are specific provisions in the state constitution that direct discrimination against certain individuals? There almost certainly will be after November, which is utterly despicable but another discussion. I wonder at Mr. McDowell's specific interpretation of the document that led to his recent decision.

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I love the state of Virginia, and more-specifically, the Hampton Roads area, but as a gay soon-to-be-adult, I'm appalled at our state. A week ago, my boyfriend was quoted in the Daily Press talking about the ruling to try to end Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools because he's the president of the one at Hampton Roads Academy (which is not subject to any rulings because it is a private school). I abhor this state (yes I'm generalizing the entire state) for its treatment of homosexuality.

Unfortunately, with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being staples of the speaking circuits in this state, and with hundreds of millions of political dollars between them, any advancement for homosexuals in the state of Virginia is a far-off dream.

An ANTI-DISCRIMINATION statement UNCONSTITUTIONAL? F***ing preposterous. I hope one of his kids turns out to be a flaming homo just in spite of him.

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An ANTI-DISCRIMINATION statement UNCONSTITUTIONAL? F***ing preposterous. I hope one of his kids turns out to be a flaming homo just in spite of him.

:rofl: Unfortunately that didn't work for Dick Cheney!

Virginia definitely isn't an easy place to be gay (at least not openly). I found this especially true when I was in college in Harrisonburg. The city of Hburg tried to ban the GSA at its high school. It wanted so badly to get rid of it that they threatened to end ALL student clubs/orgs!

Then there was the Virginia Coalition for Families or something similarly named that met occasionally at the University. They held rallies in town complete with the "God Hates f-gs" and "Adam & Eve, not Adam & STEVE" (so clever, right?) banners.

Then there were the occasional evangelicals who would randomly show up on a crowded part of campus and start preaching aloud. They'd point people out and say "You f-gs will burn in hell" or point to a girl wearing a short skirt and say "You're a rotten, evil peppermint." Wonderful stuff, right?

Looking back, I loved my 4 years at JMU, but what a crazy place! So much natural beauty but so much hate for anything not white, protestant, and southern (boy did they hate yankees too!). BTW, I'm talking local people, not the University community.

==

Anyway, I support Kaine's signing of the anti-discrimination statement. Most of Virginia (outside Nova & maybe Ric & c-ville) can be an unwelcoming place for out gays. Though I'm doubtful I'd love to see the GA support the Gov on this.

Edited by lammius

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I love the state of Virginia, and more-specifically, the Hampton Roads area, but as a gay soon-to-be-adult, I'm appalled at our state. A week ago, my boyfriend was quoted in the Daily Press talking about the ruling to try to end Gay-Straight Alliances in high schools because he's the president of the one at Hampton Roads Academy (which is not subject to any rulings because it is a private school). I abhor this state (yes I'm generalizing the entire state) for its treatment of homosexuality.

Unfortunately, with Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell being staples of the speaking circuits in this state, and with hundreds of millions of political dollars between them, any advancement for homosexuals in the state of Virginia is a far-off dream.

An ANTI-DISCRIMINATION statement UNCONSTITUTIONAL? F***ing preposterous. I hope one of his kids turns out to be a flaming homo just in spite of him.

I dought we will ever see a day in this state were we are excepted. But life goes on right! I love this state and will never leave it, no matter what most of the people here think about me. This is typical Virginia politics.

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I dought we will ever see a day in this state were we are excepted. But life goes on right! I love this state and will never leave it, no matter what most of the people here think about me. This is typical Virginia politics.

Eventhough I have left Virginia, I always held the same attitude. Nobody was going to drive me out of my state because they don't approve of me. Even when I received messages saying "You and your bf go back to California where you people belong" and the like. Such reception does make ya feel ashamed--not of yourself as the aggressors hope, but for the ignorance still exhibited by so many in this state (especially in such powerful positions such as the legislature!)

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What's stopping them from going back to the system of rich white landowners? Forget everyone else and women!

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What's stopping them from going back to the system of rich white landowners? Forget everyone else and women!

:shok: Stop, don't give them any ideas!

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This whole gay discrimination ban thing is typical politics guys. We live in a conservative bastion and you come to expect these political squables when liberal ideals are being forced upon the system. I'll admit this to you guys, I'm a bigtime conservative, and proud of it. I'm mostly a fiscal conservative but I do have social conservative tendencies.

For political starters, McDonnell was playing to the conservative base that is our state. His job is to serve as a conservative check on our democratic governor. His job is to be a thorn in the man's side, for lack of better words. Second, he was interpreting this based upon previous VA court precedents. Ofcourse he's gonna find some sort of loophole that will stonewall Kaine's agenda. Something that's scary to me; Can a governor just add things onto existing laws? What is the use of the general assembly. A governor operating with executive decree is like having a king running things with an advisory general assembly. This sort of policy-making makes our government succeptable to the influence of non-majority opinions which will arrise in the absence of any true debate, which would normaly appear in the chambers of the general assembly. I'll illustrate this point with some guys that I happen to like but most despise: Imagine if George Bush and Karl Rove could, without the consent of Congress, draft and implement new laws. THis would be scary, even to me. You can't run a modern democracy without full participation of minority and majority viewpoints.

As for the anti-gay vibe that radiates from the republican party, I can't defend that or relate to the Christian Right.

What upsets me about these new provisions is the old, "where do you draw the line?" philosophy. How many protections do we need? How about new Brown hair protectionism? I'm tall and the airline seats are too close anti-discrimination laws? When does this stop? At some point, we as a society must sit down and say, "that's enough." Sorry for the rant, I just wanted to give a conservative's view on things...don't be too hard on my views, ok.

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I have views that would scare a conservative Republican, not because it's "liberal" but because I'd be too extreme, that Pat Robertson would say, "Did he say that?"

But I think as humans we should have equal civil rights, and from the way conservative Republicans operate these days, civil rights may be a dead duck.

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I have views that would scare a conservative Republican, not because it's "liberal" but because I'd be too extreme, that Pat Robertson would say, "Did he say that?"

But I think as humans we should have equal civil rights, and from the way conservative Republicans operate these days, civil rights may be a dead duck.

That's a bunch of crap! Republicans aren't against civil rights thats some left wing nut portraying them as that.

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That's a bunch of crap! Republicans aren't against civil rights thats some left wing nut portraying them as that.

Not against civil rights for all? There are some pretty scary quotes from Republicans about gays that are printed in newspapers every day almost (and not just about the right to marry, either - some really bigoted viewpoints in our government) - and gay rights is just the most recent front. Go back through history and it's always the conservative party that opposes equal rights because they are so able to capitalize on inequality. As a Republican, you may agree or disagree with their stances on these issues, but you can't deny that's what the party advocates. As a gay man, I'm pretty tuned in to this issue, and I have no problem saying that there are many Democrats whose positions on gay rights are far less than accepting - whether, like many, they actually speak out against them or, like Tim Kaine, they simply are unwilling to make a stand. Still, there's a pretty clear divide on the issue, as on just about all social issues, where the Republican party clearly takes the most closed-minded, exclusive stance.

Edited by gosscj

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Stunad, I think it's a stretch to compare a tall person's comfort on an airplane as much a "right" as the "right" to work. Kaine's attempted expansion of anti-discrimination was to protect gay state employees and prospective employees from either being fired or not hired simply for the reason of being gay. As it stands now that practice is entirely legal. As the ultimate "boss" of state employees the Governor does hold certain prerogatives (granting a state-wide day off for state employees, for example).

ASIDE: Granted I think anti-discrimination policies are flawed in that they list variables upon which you cannot base a decision to hire/fire. What a policy SHOULD do IMO is say you can ONLY hire/fire based on someone's professional qualifications.

I don't feel that the "Oh, McDonnell is only using gays as sacrificial pawns in a political game of chess" is a good justification to use in an effort to argue that his acts are right or supportable, even if that is the truth of it.

Edited by lammius

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That's a bunch of crap! Republicans aren't against civil rights thats some left wing nut portraying them as that.

The only wings I like are chicken wings, no nuts.

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Being a state employee I can tell you guys that there's no anti-homosexual policies in regards to hiring and firing. Not one state employment application asks whether or not one is gay. What are we looking for, another protected group that can demand quotas? That is not my idea of equality, hire people based on their skills not what they are. The way that things are now, I can't get a promotion because I'm in the wrong demographic...this is not fair for me. But I deal with it anyways.

I was not defending what McDonnell was doing as fun and games in politics...I was just telling it like it is. He's doing what he thinks is right. He was issuing advisory opinions that the Gov can do whatever he wants with. McDonnell will continue to do this because he knows that the Gov won't listen anyways, it's a way for him to get his constituency fired up. He is the top Statewide elected Republican, he's the opposition. I expect him to get in Kaine's way on controversial issues.

Republicans are not out to get everyone who's not like them. Search high and low and find me one Republican party platform stance that is against minorities. No modern political party could survive if they made such claims. Their problem is the perception that has lingered for generations. I'm tired of people claiming that Republicans are racist. Just because we prefer that people work for what they have, does that make us racist. I prefer a "Hand Up" as opposed to a "Hand Out."

What goes on in one's bedroom should not prevent them from getting hired, and it shouldn't prevent me either. That's what I think about it.

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Who's calling for quotas for gay employees? I haven't heard it once...

Personally, I wish the republican party would stick to its original objectives, (lower taxes, smaller federal budgets i.e. more states rights, less govt interference in the lives of citizens) instead of this moral crusade it (or at least much of it) has been lately. I don't like the government meddling in morality, but that's just me. BTW, I'm no democrat either, I could find plenty wrong there too.

btw... Stunad I hope you are tuning in at 2:30 for the UConn game! Go Patriots!

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You're damn right I was watching, how about Mason in the Final Four. The entire Mid Atlantic has every reason to be proud of the school :yahoo::alc:

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That's a bunch of crap! Republicans aren't against civil rights thats some left wing nut portraying them as that.

I am in the smallest minority, a gay republican. It just seems to me that republicans in office spend to much time worried about what gay people do than the ballooning deficite. Fiscally conservitive means you spend on your needs not your wants. The republicans today are social conservitives and big spenders. There entire agenda seems to come from Pat Robertson not William F. Buckly. Social change happens over time and these republicans can't stop it. In a sense they are against civil rights but only when it comes to ones sexual preference.

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